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Easy to grow food plants – just add water

By Ben Sims
11 August, 2020

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When many people think of growing plants they think large nurseries, growing benches, irrigation systems and greenhouses but what If I told you that many kitchen scraps can be grown in a shallow dish or glass in only water to begin with on your kitchen bench or window sill. Once they have rooted then you can place them in potting mix or a garden bed with correctly prepared soil and then they will grow traditionally. Here is a list of some easy to grow plants that will happily start growing from kitchen scraps in water. 


Lettuce, carrots and bok choy – you know the top main stem part that you normally cut off and throw away is actually the part that will grow a new plant if you place it in a shallow dish in water. When the temperate is warm(18-25C) you should see new roots in as 2 weeks. Avoid placing them on a hot window sills in summer as the water will dry out and the material won’t form roots. The rooting process is temperature and moisture sensitive and not light sensitive. It is only the newly growing leaves that need light but in somewhere like Perth you seem to get enough light in shade in midsummer but in winter you want to get them on a sunny windowsill. Once it has rooted place it in a pot with potting mix or in a garden bed with adequately prepared soil containing clay and compost and manure. The manure will be enough natural fertilizer in warmer months and after 3-4 weeks of being planted you can add liquid fertilizer like power feed once the roots have taken properly and some fertilizer like Sabrina hahns Grosafe which can be added every 3-4 weeks with a light power feed application in-between during the warmer months. 


Basil, rosemary, can be grown by placing cuttings in water in a jar and in a few weeks, they will form roots. These can then be placed in a pot with quality potting mix or directly into well prepared garden soil. 
Spring onion are even easier and can be placed in water to re grow more roots and then placed in a pot or in the garden. I would grow them in a pot for about a month before placing them directly in the garden.  


Tropical plants like peanuts, mangos and avocados will need a warm sunny place as they are tropical by nature. For peanuts wrap them in paper towel and place the wrapped peanuts in water for 1 hour. This will allow the water to penetrate deep into the peanut seed. After an hour take the wrapped peanut out and place on a plate in a warm sunny position. Germination can occur in 1-3 days in the warmer months. For avocados and mangos use the toothpick method where you have 3 toothpicks at 45-degree angles evenly around the Mango/Avacado. This will allow the mango/Avacado to be partially submerged in water with the top two thirds exposed to air and the bottom third submerged in water. You can expect to see new roots in as little as 1-3 weeks. Once you have decent roots place them in a pot to grow further and then after 3-6 months in the pot you can plant them out in the garden in prepared soil. 


We hope we have provided some interesting information and you can grow some amazing plants with the food you have already paid for and would otherwise throw away. 


For consulting and design advice on setting up an edible garden please contact us as we would love to help.